Here is a perfect example of Democrats in the Senate not finding agreement on a pretty simple issue.
Some of you may already know that Senator Kristen E. Gillibrand, Democrat of New York, has placed much of her energy behind a bill that would take sexual assault cases into the civilian arena and remove military commanders from the process. She has the full backing of victims and victim's rights organizations who have presented evidence that military commanders do not have training in sexual assault prosecution and are ill-equiped to make decisions about which cases should go to trial. There are also those cases where commanders had personal relationships with either the victim or with the accused (or was the accused) and their ability to make a rational decision was comprised.
Although Senator Gillibrand's bill failed to pass the Armed Services Committee, the majority leader, Senator Harry Reid, is open to making it an amendment in the next military spending bill. Senator Gillibrand has worked hard to find bipartisan support from both liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans.
Enter Senator Claire McCaskill, Democrat of Missouri. Her measure would not go as far; in fact it would allow military commanders to determine if a sexual assault case should go to trial. Her bill would prevent commanders from revisiting cases after they have completed court-martial; no more turning over jury verdicts and placing convicted rapists back in the ranks. And just so you know, this part of the measure is already included in Gillbrand's. McCaskill's measure has the support of the military brass and passed the Armed Services Committee in June. She too has bi-partisan support but more of the centrist kind.
This is a perfect example of the split that we talk about here at DailyKos all the time. We have an obvious progressive fighting hard to change the system in a way that will prevent rapists from escaping prosecution in the military; a solution that might have a chance to change a system that has really not changed at all throughout scandal after scandal.
Then we have an obvious moderate willing to play to the military establishment; her bill is very much middle ground. In many respects, it's a compromise, a compromise that should have waited until Senator Gillibrand's measure had a full vote in the Senate.
I do wish we could get Democrats on the same page more often. Let the progressive legislation play through and if it cannot succeed, then and only should moderate Democrats offer the compromise. But they will insist on sabotaging progressive legislation from the get go.